A new world is literally dawning with a promise of endless opportunities. A world so new, it didn’t even have a name a few months ago. Now, it’s actually here.
We went there. To Decentraland of course. As you might know this is an ethereum based world where a plot of land is an NFT that can be sold and bought with one of them going for $100,000 during the bear in 2018.
As the land is digital, it comes with all the capabilities of the code based crypto world, including token ownership being possession and actual custody of the asset.
The asset in this case can be anything you can imagine. A Trustnodes office with rolling headlines, a casino, an X district, a horse racing arena, or indeed the whitehouse with even Biden in it if he wants.
That Biden can have a microphone too, and your presence there can be to his exclusion through invite only or maybe in a century even digital vetting.
That metaverse is being built, so let’s first start with a journey. One that begins with us looking a bit like a fool.
This is our avatar. To get him, we just go to Decentraland and connect our MetaMask. We don’t pay for anything and there is no on-chain transaction, but we do have to sign.
Then you can go to the genesis plaza where there are noticeboard like displays telling you about events.
We have a map. There’s a few people here, maybe they too figuring out what to do, and you can see the board. There’s a few of them. We click on one that said there’s music, and got teleported there.
As it happened we had gone to the galleries high street. Was pretty cool, some nice architectural displays, with each building showing NFTs in a nicely organized way as in an actual gallery.
We can buy them. Obviously we ain’t paying 500 eth for this one, but there were some which didn’t have bids, so new drops we presume.
Also browsing through here is a thousand times more enjoyable than on OpenSea, because the NFTs look way cooler and because they’re generally nice ones as obviously there has been some human curation.
You have all sorts of galleries. We didn’t hang out too much, but there’s kind of proper or high art and more creative or cool/pop art and more, like in the pictured one, about sport. Basically it’s a nice day out really.
Also it puts NFTs on a very, very different context. Sometime they’re jokingly called just jpegs, but seeing the ‘politics is bullshit’ NFT by Beeple, seeing that bull kind of ‘in person,’ is a completely different experience than seeing a jpeg because it’s ‘real.’
So now we’re maybe better understanding why there’s a boom in NFTs. They’re just different and look different in the metaverse than in 2d on OpenSea and they look sufficiently appealing in the metaverse to the point people obviously are buying them.
We haven’t shown the bull to no spoilers, suffices to say it is in 3d. Also our screenshots are maybe not doing too much justice. It feels different when you’re down there because it’s interactive and you’re like as if walking down the street.
The buildings thus also take shape as you move towards them. So here it might look like a few step and nothing left, but cool new buildings show up in that orderly high street formation and you can go into those buildings, up and down them, like in the real world.
Of course there’s a casino. We didn’t go. There were plans for a District X as well, but it’s not clear what happened there. Is that a church? Chateau Satoshi?
Anyway we’ll keep exploring, this was more to get the feels so we went off to that mining thing because that had most people.
2d and 3d just does no justice because not only it looks way better when there’s all these characters moving as if you’re in an actual playground, which you are because these are all different people making movements and doing stuff on the playground, but it also feels way different.
The hodler above for example kindly faced us so that we can take a nice look and a picture, but as in real life you are a bit embarrassed or shy and kind of want to take a look, but don’t want to point fingers, the usual real life stuff.
You’d expect thus people here to be way more well behaved than online in general because the avatar, its movements and so on, make the people behind it feel almost as real as in-person.
That makes this a very new and different thing which hasn’t existed before, and opens imagination by also making new things possible.
Imagine the fun furries can have on here for example. Independent film makers also get a whole new world because they can build their own cinema. No reason why a pub can’t play indie music here. Car racing, horse racing, plane flying, train driving. Maybe even schools for them.
Architecture is now free, and almost physical. People may even showcase what our real living spaces should look like. In addition socializing online takes a new dimension because you’re no longer limited to words.
The best of it moreover is that this re-creates the internet surfing experience or even the real life experience in that walking down the street you might find a nice shop or whatever or some brotherhood or a pretty cool pub or indeed the furries caffee.
The possibilities therefore may be truly endless as this makes ‘online’ itself something new as well as often quite cool.
It’s no wonder thus that some brands are at ground zero. Stella Artois’s parent company, AB Inbev, for example has claimed a sport sponsorship in the NFT horse racing Zed Run.
We just watched a live race won by a horse whose’ bloodline is Buterin, with this seemingly being its own platform, but there isn’t a reason why it can’t be incorporated into a wider metaverse like Decentraland.
Boson Protocol paid more than $700,000 for some land on Decentraland to build a whole shopping center where fashion NFTs can be worn by your avatar and in addition are exchangeable for the physical bag or shoes in the real world.
That’s an interesting new take because the shopping experience in 2d websites is a bit laborious and all that scrolling can be a bit overwhelming.
Physical shopping can be fun, although tiring as you have to go up and down the stairs. 3d shopping on the metaverse on the other hand can be a lot more intuitive than on a site and more fun because you get to discover things and look at them in a more real way, especially stuff like TVs etc.
The metaverse however is becoming a competitive space. There’s Sandbox, which welcomed Snoop Dogg this week, and then there’s centralized ones like Roblox.
The latter has 45 million users, but Roblox is a different experience with it more different game metaverses rather than one universe as in Decentraland.
Bigger companies like Facebook or Microsoft are also entering, with the crypto space differentiating itself by providing actual ownership and by being permissionless as Decentraland for example owned by the people so to speak, by the cryptonians.
This has all just began, with it to be seen how it will develop, but the internet seems to be going 3d and that may make the internet a lot more interesting, especially the experience of socializing or meeting new people online, while making NFTs less of a jpeg and something you wear or showcase on this new world.